It’s been 60 years since 69 champions of democracy and human rights lost their lives when the brutal apartheid police officers fired live ammunition indiscriminately towards an unarmed peaceful protesters who were clamoring for human rights.
Sharpeville protest was against Pass laws, which were a form of internal passport system designed to segregate the population, manage urbanization and easily allocate migrant labor.
Pass Law severely restricted the movement of black South Africans as the law required them to carry pass books when outside their homelands or designated areas, and that influenced the Sharpeville protest.
The minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa reiterated the sacrifices and importance of PAC founder, Robert Sobukwe in championing human rights.
“As we commemorate human rights day, let us appreciate the sacrifices made by liberation struggle and hero and PAC founder, Robert Sobukwe who was at the forefront of the anti-pass campaign that led to Sharpeville protest on 21 march 1960,” he said.
Other champions of human rights in South Africa were:
- Oliver Tambo
- Solomon Mahlangu
- Chris Hani
- Steve Biko
Their sacrifices were celebrated on Saturday 21 march by South Africans who showed their solidarity using hashtags #HumanRightsDay, #Sharpeville.
South Africa upholds 15 basic human rights that include the right to equality, right to human dignity , right to freedom and security among others.
However, according to South Africa Human Rights Commission, the right to equality was reported in 2017 as one of the most violated.